Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 145–152 | Cite as

Contribution to variability in response to opioids

  • Geoffrey W. HanksEmail author
  • Colette Reid
Review Article


Opioids are the oldest and most effective agents for the short- and long-term control of severe pain, particularly chronic cancer pain palliation. However, morphine and other opioids display wide variations in pharmacological efficacy and tolerability, and a significant number of patients are unable to achieve adequately controlled pain at doses that do not produce intolerable adverse effects. This article reviews factors that affect the efficacy and tolerability of opioid analgesics and clinical strategies for successful pain mangement.


Opioids Analgesia Adverse effects Bioavailability Metabolism 



This review was supported by Endo Pharmaceuticals, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, with editorial assistance provided by Accel Medical Education, New York, NY.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Palliative Medicine, Bristol Haematology and Oncology CentreUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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